The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of Jake Phillips of Masterpiece Bakeshop Ltd. You can read the Supreme Court’s decision in its entirety here.
Phillips argued that he was not discriminating against same-sex couples (he countered that he would sell them any other baked product) but rather that, on religious grounds, would not print a cake that would celebrate same-sex marriage.
Despite his objection, the CCRC (Colorado Civil Rights Commission) found Phillips in violation of State Law. The CCRC ordered Phillips to make policy changes to his company that would include the printing of same-sex marriage cakes. The contention would prompt Supreme Court intervention.
In this article I don’t want to get into lengthy details about the case or legalities. The question I want to focus on here is:
‘Should business owners be neutral or should their religious or political beliefs take precedence?’
It’s my belief that business ethics should be based around the quality of the product and/or service. A business owner’s focus should be just that; business.
At a cursory observation this doesn’t seem all that controversial, but in fact, it is. I know my stance on this is controversial, and it’s okay for us to disagree, but here is what I would like people to consider.
I believe a cake baker should print cakes for homosexual couples even if they are religious. (not forced to, but by default hold that position.) Printing something you disagree with is not an endorsement of the idea, but rather merely you providing a service.
Your role as a cake baker doesn’t have to coincide with your religious or political beliefs. These are your “business beliefs” and those beliefs should, in my opinion, include performing the service you offer to anyone willing to hire you.
If you can legally print an image on a cake, then you should print it. This is the responsibility of the cake decorator.
I’ve made this argument before and the most common ‘quickfire’ rebuttal is: “would you bake a swastika cake for neo-Nazis?” (Yeah, that’s where people always go, they always bring up Nazis.)
This is a great question though, because homosexual marriage cakes don’t bother me (I am not religious), but I am, however, vehemently against National Socialism and neo-nazi ideology.
Baking a neo nazi swastika cake would disgust me and I wouldn’t want to do it…but would I do it anyway?
I know this answer would probably make some people want to bash me over the head with a brick, but I would bake the cake.
I’d bake the swastika cake with the same level of professionalism and care that I would bake any other cake with.
Why? Because I wouldn’t allow my political beliefs to supersede my business ethic and service to the community. I might think your ideas or beliefs are abhorrent, but when I am assuming the role as a cake decorator I am fulfilling my responsibilities as a cake decorator.
I understand this is a controversial position to take, but neutrality in business is important.
The marketplace would get too hectic if every business owner started losing the concept of neutrality. There would be people saying “oh, I’m not gonna print those shirts, they’re too liberal” or “I refuse to make these business cards because they’re too conservative.” etc.etc.etc. It would just turn into a shitshow.
Just remember, business owners, if you wont do it, someone else will.